The idea for Gramin Shiksha Kendra came into existence in 1997 as a collaboration between community members living in the villages near and in Ranthambore National Park and development professionals working on an eco-development project. While communities had historically been reliant on the forest for livelihood needs, the establishment of the national park meant that communities now had limited access to the forest. Community members pointed to the need for quality education for children in the area to provide them with the skills to flourish in a rapidly changing environment. Gramin Shiksha Kendra was registered in 1997 and its first school was established in 2004.
The first Uday Community School – Uday Community School Jaganpura – was established in 2004. The early years of GSK were about many stakeholders coming together and supporting each other. The land for Uday Community School Jaganpura was donated by the community and many staff initially worked as volunteers, to support the cause, until funding was secured. The education offered at the school was far from standard–at the Uday Community Schools education was fun and engaging for the children and the community played an important role in management of the school. As Uday Community School Jaganpura became increasingly popular, GSK began to expand, opening two new schools—Uday Community School Bodal in 2007 and Uday Community School Fariya in 2009.
In 2010, India introduced the Right to Education Act. Under the act, Gramin Shiksha Kendra was no longer able to run Uday Community School – Bodal because of infrastructure requirements. However, the community stepped in and asked GSK to adopt government schools for five years, placing their own staff in the school and training government teachers to improve the quality of the schools. GSK adopted the government school in Bodal and a government school in Housing Board, Sawai Madhopur. In 2011, GSK established their Vistaar programme, partnering with government schools by providing them support in academics and community engagement. Through Vistaar, GSK began scaling up its approach. In 2014, the relocated community of Mordungri and Padra, now located in the village of Girirajpura, approached GSK and asked them to establish a school for them—Uday Community School Girirajpura.
In the last five years, GSK has continued to flourish and grow. In 2015, our Uday Community Schools were recognised as Ashoka Changemaker Schools by the Ashoka Foundation. In 2016, GSK launched a programme called Umang, which provided academic and life skills support to grade 9 girls at risk of dropping out. In 2017, GSK opened their STEAM laboratory at Bodal—an interdisciplinary resource centre for schools to explore science and the humanities. Today, Gramin Shiksha Kendra runs 3 Uday schools education 400 children and reaches over 70 government schools through Vistaar and programs like STEAM.
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